British Columbia moves ahead with Clean Energy Act
By Anthony Capkun
British Columbia’s new Clean Energy Act sets the foundation for a new future of electricity self-sufficiency, job creation and reduced greenhouse gas emissions, powered by unprecedented investments in clean, renewable energy across the province.
According to a press release issued jointly by the Office of the
Premier, the Ministry of Energy, Mines and Petroleum Resources and BC
Hydro, Bill 17 builds upon British Columbia’s unique heritage advantages
and wealth of clean, renewable energy resources.
“The new Clean Energy Act opens the way to an exciting new age of
economic growth and job creation by unleashing British Columbia’s full
potential in clean energy, power smart technologies, environmental
stewardship and climate action,” said Premier Gordon Campbell. “It will
maximize the value of our public heritage assets for the benefit of
British Columbians by forever securing competitive rates and generating
new streams of revenue for crucial public services.”
The act advances 16 specific energy objectives by expediting clean
energy investments, protecting BC ratepayers, ensuring competitive
rates, encouraging conservation, strengthening environmental protection
and aggressively promoting regional job creation and First Nations’
involvement in clean electricity development opportunities.
“British Columbia has a proud history of producing clean,
reliable electricity at rates that are among the lowest in North
America,” said Blair Lekstrom, minister of energy, mines and petroleum
resources. “The Clean Energy Act builds on the work of the Green Energy
Advisory Task Force with a new statutory framework to encourage new
investments and jobs, strengthen BC Hydro and secure British Columbia’s
power needs at low rates for generations to come.”
The new Clean Energy Act sets the foundation for three areas of
1. Ensuring electricity self-sufficiency at low rates
self-sufficiency by 2016 with a new regulatory framework for long-term
electricity planning, bold commitments to clean and renewable
electricity generation, streamlined approval processes, and new measures
to promote electricity efficiency and conservation.
It also strengthens protection for BC ratepayers with new measures to
promote competitive rates and to ensure that all of the benefits from
the province’s heritage assets continue to flow to British Columbians.
These objectives will be accomplished through long-term planning; public
investments and conservation; and new investments in clean, renewable
power and energy security. The British Columbia Utilities Commission
will continue to ensure appropriate rates are set in advancing
government’s energy objectives and long-term resource plans.
2. Harnessing BC’s clean power potential to create jobs in every region
necessary to establish British Columbia as a clean energy powerhouse
that enables economic growth and job creation in every region. It will
enable BC Hydro to maximize the value of its energy resources for
ratepayers and taxpayers. It will provide a new model to secure
long-term export power sales to other jurisdictions seeking clean power
by partnering with renewable power producers without risk or cost to BC
The act also creates a First Nations Clean Energy Business Fund to
provide the opportunity for First Nations to create investment and jobs
in renewable power production.
3. Strengthening environmental stewardship and reducing greenhouse gases
greenhouse gas emissions, help customers save money through conservation
and protect the environment.
The Environmental Assessment Act process will be strengthened to
specifically provide for assessments of potential cumulative
environmental effects. In addition, the development or proposal of
energy projects in parks, protected areas and conservancies will be
prohibited by law.
The Clean Energy Act builds on the work of the Green Energy Advisory
Task Force, appointed in November 2009 to provide insights and
recommendations on a comprehensive strategy to put B.C. at the forefront
of clean energy development.
CLICK HERE for a summary of the Task Force report.
CLICK HERE for more information on the Clean Energy Act.